January 6, 2016
Portland, Oregon— After extensive crying and whining over a dinner of roast beast, broccoli with garlic-tahini sauce, sautéed leeks and mushrooms, and mashed potatoes, two young boys set out to find a loving “chicken-fingers-only” family. The boys, six and four, say they will settle for “cheeseburgers-only.”
“Could I be more cliché?” upper-middle-class mom Evelyn Shoop said. “I’m a white mom with a Master’s and I have an organic food delivery service. But you know what? I don’t care! I’m not stopping. I love Organics to You.”
Relatives confirm that this exhausted parent cooks mostly organic vegetables and meats. “She also eats gluten-free, which is just a bunch of baloney. No one ever had a problem with gluten when I was growing up. Barak Obama is the worst president in our history,” said an honored citizen who asked not to be named for this article.
“She thinks sugar makes us sick,” said Shoop’s six-year-old son. “We’re not even supposed to ask about treats. We do anyway and she gives in. But not enough. When we want treats we want them now.”
“Eeeeeeeeeehhwheeeeeeeeigh,” said Shoop’s four-year-old. His whine was unintelligible, but his emotion was clear.
Initially the boys attempted to rent a tiny-house nearby, but with no income, it proved difficult. “We didn’t want it anyway,” the older boy said. “We want someone else to cook.”
They are confident a “chicken-fingers-and-fries” family exists and will take them in. “It’s just time for us to go,” the six-year-old said. “She’s making us do more chores and she keeps saying ‘it’s hard work to be in a family’ and ‘you get what you get and you don’t have a fit.’”
One of these statements is true:
- My children eat kale salads while wearing organic cotton track suits.
- My children eat grilled cheese sandwiches while watching television.
Yet I just bought four heads (bunches? leaf packs?) of kale at the farmers market Saturday. They’re just for me. I will single-handedly eat them by the end of the week. I know foodies have moved on to other nutrient-packed greens like collards and nasturtiums, but I’m still figuring out kale. (Here‘s my smoothie recipe.)
Keys to kale salad success:
- Remove the biggest, most sinewy parts of the stems and shove everything else through the food processor’s slicer attachment (you can thinly hand chop if you don’t have a food processor).
- Add tons of fall veggies and fruit, then finish with bacon or sausage.
- Drench in creamy dressing (coconut creaminess for me, because I currently don’t do dairy or eggs).
Texture in a salad, for me, is paramount. It’s amazing how thinly chopping those leathery leaves changes the gustatory experience. I was looking for an excuse to use “gustatory.”
For the kale and roasted veggies, I prepare giant batches and then pull from them all week.
Kale Salad with Fennel, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Pear, and Bacon
- Using the slicer attachment on the food processor, thinly slice sweet potatoes (I don’t peel them because that’s extra work). Toss sliced sweet potatoes in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes.*
- Place bacon on a baking tray and cook while the sweet potatoes are roasting–about 12–18 minutes.*
- Throw kale and fennel into the food processor using the slicer attachment (remove only the largest, most sinewy stems), and then put some of each into your bowl. My friend Sara brought over some fennel she didn’t want, and I was surprised how great it was in the salad. I didn’t use much of the hairy heads, but those are pretty fun to add in if you want.
- Thinly slice a pear and add that to the salad.
- Chop bacon and add it, along with sweet potatoes.
- Drench in creamy dressing (recipe below).
*Times are all approximate because I have a 1964 oven that’s a furnace. Also I like things crispy. Also I often cook by smell instead of time. Never trust me.
Kale Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Apples, Sausage, and Croutons
- Using the slicer attachment on your food processor, thinly slice kale.
- Cube sweet potatoes, toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes. (Remember that note on times.)
- Place sausage on a baking tray and bake for about 15 minutes, until cooked through. I use Lonely Lane Farm’s original pork sausage. Lonely Lane sells through the Beaverton Farmers Market, and I order their sausage by the case. Any sausage you like will work.
- Cube an apple and add it to the salad.
- Add roasted sweet potatoes and sliced sausage to the salad.
- Drench in creamy dressing (recipe below).
- Toss croutons on top. (I’m gluten free, so I go to New Cascadia Gluten Free Bakery and grab day-old bread, then chop it up, drizzle with olive oil, bake at 300 degrees for about 40 minutes, and then store in a Tupperware on top of my fridge.)
Creamy Herb Salad Dressing (Vegan)
My process is to steal parsley from my backyard neighbor, cut rosemary from another neighbor, and then pillage my own yard for oregano. But I hear herbs can be bought at the store. Which is what I used to do before I became the Herb Burglar, a trashier and marginally less pretentious version of the Barefoot Contessa. The Herb Burglar calls this dressing Three Yards Vinaigrette.
- Procure herbs and throw them into a blender or food processor. Rosemary, marjoram, parsley, oregano, chives, thyme–they all work. About a cup total, though I like to get up to two cups.
- Add a can of coconut milk (I get mine at Trader Joe’s), 1/4 cup vinegar, salt, pepper, and 2 or 3 cloves garlic.*
- Blend until smooth and then add a steady stream of olive oil while the blender is running (about a half cup or more, to taste).
- Store in a jar in the fridge after you pour over your salad.
*The liquid measurements are very flexible. I mix based on how I’m feeling that day. You can use mayo I imagine instead of coconut milk, but it won’t be an apples-to-apples substitute. Basically you’re going for a consistency that pours nicely and coats the kale really well.
Posted in Food & Recipes
Tagged apple, bacon, creamy coconut milk salad dressing, creamy vegan salad dressing, croutons, fall salad, herb salad dressing, kale salad, kale salad with roasted veggies, Lonely Lane Farms, oregano, parsley, pear, roasted sweet potatoes, rosemary, sausage
Look! A new recipe! I’m cooking food things, again! Our little friend Fairy Pig has let up on the nausea! High five! Okay, cashew cream… There’s this magical paleo parfait at Dick’s Kitchen in Northwest Portland. It has a cashew, maple cream that scoops like ice cream, a deep purple berry compote, and a nut “cookie” crumble. Over the past year, I’ve been cutting down my sugar intake. I don’t crave super-saccharine treats that often these days because they make me feel yucky. In my search to find satisfying replacements, I’ve only come across a few things that make me want to leave my family and live out of a box asking for money to sate my habits: the paleo parfait at Dick’s, the raw fudge made by Honey Mama’s, paleo almond cookies, and possibly a Coconut Bliss “milkshake.” Dick’s wouldn’t divulge to my friend Jamie and me the recipe, so I’ve resorted to creating my own. It’s been such a hardship carrying out the experiments. Most cashew cream recipes call for blending soaked cashews with water. I prefer coconut milk. To get the consistency of a heavy cream, which goes well with berries and granola, I use a whole can of coconut milk. To get something scoop-able, I use a blend of coconut milk and melted coconut oil, which hardens at room temperature, but I haven’t perfected that yet, so this recipe is for the heavy cream kind.
Cashew Cream (vegan: definitely; paleo: I think)
- 1 lb raw or roasted cashews, covered in water to soak overnight*
- 1 can coconut milk (I like canned because the ingredient is just coconut milk, whereas the refrigerated stuff has a lot of additives)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 maple syrup (to taste)
- generous pinch salt
- 1/2 tsp almond extract (optional, but adds a marzipan taste–who wouldn’t want that?!?)
*You can also try using hot water and soaking the cashews just for an hour or two.
Now blend all that stuff up in a blender. You might need to shake the blender around a bit, or use its stick thingy to keep things moving, or adjust the speeds. This makes me think the Cuisinart may be a better choice… Let me know what you decide.
Posted in Food & Recipes
Tagged almond, almond extract, blender, cashew cream, maple, maple syrup, nuts, paleo, raw, recipe, vanilla, vegan
I am a very lazy cook, and I have a few questions for you.
Why peel your apples for applesauce? That seems like a lot of work. Also, isn’t there fiber in the peels? That’s how I justify my laziness.
Why add sugar to applesauce? I mean, that’s one more step. Also, sugar is killing us. Hasn’t the Internet told you that lately?
Why cook applesauce on the stove? You could forget about it and burn your house down. That is some serious bad news right there.
Core some apples and pack them into your slow cooker.
Turn your slow cooker on low and let it hang out until some point in the future when you remember it’s still on.
Blend up your cooked apples.
You could add a tiny bit of water. Over-achiever. I add cinnamon, because if I do this at night, I can let the slow-cooker-plus-apples-and-cinnamon make my house in the morning smell like I’ve been baking apple pies all night. When in reality I’ve been sleeping. It’s a nice trick I like to play on myself.
Once I tried wrapping mulling spices in cheese cloth and adding that to the apples. Then I forgot about the spices and accidentally blended up that fragrant cheese-cloth ball. My blender did not like it. So that’s my warning against taking unnecessary extra steps.
I did once leave the slow cooker running with the apples in it for 24 hours. The sauce was more of an apple butter with nice caramel notes. So that’s my endorsement for extreme laziness.
Let me know how it goes. Or if you have other apple recipes that are one step above complete entropy.